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October 10, 2023
Early View Perspective Mental health
Daniel W. Belsky
Heidi L. Allen
The Future of Population Health
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For workers who eke out a hand-to-mouth existence, an income supplement at tax time could plausibly have a positive and measurable impact on economic well-being and health by improving purchasing power for healthy foods or renting an apartment in a safer neighborhood.1 It could also alleviate the psychological stress associated with living paycheck to paycheck, which is associated with premature aging throughout the life course.2, 3 However, it is difficult to qualify for many welfare programs in the United States, and often the neediest go without because of bureaucratic barriers, such as onerous filing requirements.4
Low-wage work can be a particularly insidious health threat for single adults without children in America because this group is often ineligible for welfare income supplements. Although single adults without custodial children are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), they are only eligible for one-fourth of the amount provided to single parents with one child.5
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.